The latest weekly Essential Research survey has the two parties locked together on 50-50 for the third week running. There is also perfect stability on the primary vote, with the Coalition on 44 per cent, Labor on 41 per cent and the Greens on 8 per cent. A question on preferred Liberal leader has Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull essentially neck and neck at 23 per cent and 22 per cent respectively, which compares with 26 per cent and 20 per cent for a similar question in September. Public opinion on the banking industry is shown to be what elite opinion would consider unorthodox: 64 per cent of respondents believe they need more regulation against only 4 per cent for less and 20 per cent for “present regulation about right”, and 62 per cent would support the establishment of a government-owned bank against only 17 per cent opposed.

On the question of whether James Packer should be allowed to become a major shareholder in the Ten Network, 28 per cent said he should and 24 per cent said he shouldn’t – respondents were agreeably given a “don’t care” option, and 38 per cent of them put it to use. Enjoyably, 50 per cent agreed the government should not allow “one company to own the majority of Australia‚Äôs major newspapers”, after it was pointedly put to them that News Limited did just that. The ABC is found to be head and shoulders above other television channels on the question of trust, with Sky News enjoying a small but significant lead over the free-to-air commercial networks.

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